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Thread: Open pressed seams

  1. #1
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    Open pressed seams

    I love tumbler quilts..I do a pretty good job matching the seams but sometimes a few get off a bit and I find its normally caused by the think seams when sewing the rows together. I decided to try ironning my seams open...WOW what a difference....My seams look great and not lumps. Not only do the seams line up prefectly...it also will be alot easier to FMQ less bulk. So why do we iron the seams to the side instead of open seams??? I also sew my strips twice...once each way. I find its a great way to see if I sewed a piece a bit off....and its prevents waves.

  2. #2
    Super Member mimiknoxtaylor's Avatar
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    I've begun opening my seams also. We had a speaker @ guild not long ago who is a "professional" LAQ and she quilts 30-40 quilts per month. One of her requirements is that the seams have to be open, says too many broken needles when they're not.
    if seams are hand sewn they do need to be pressed to either side for strength. But machine sewn, it's more personal preference.
    Joyce T, RN retired
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  3. #3
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    Most of the time I do press my seams to one side..but I have also had times when it will work better to press seams open and it works well...and yes, it does reduce the bulk and help with FMQ. I think the pressing to one side is helpful when you want to "butt" seams together.

    Do wonder why you sew your strips twice? Doesn't that add more bulk to the seam? Wouldn't that be harder to press open?

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    We had a longarmer come to our guild and she said to always press the seams open. I like to hand quilt so I had been pressing them open for a long time but thought I was wrong--guess not.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member Suzette316's Avatar
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    I've been quilting for about fifteen years now and up until about a month ago, I almost always pressed my seams to one side. Then out of the blue, I just decided to start pressing them open - wow! I have noticed such a difference in my precision. It's not that it was bad before, but it's definitely better with pressed open seams! Also, I find FMQ to be much easier with open seams.

    I don't personally see the need to double stitch strips, but you do what works for you Carol.

  6. #6
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Confession: I've tried several times to press my seams open, and it always ends in burnt fingers and frustration. What am I doing wrong? I've watched people do it online before but my seams just don't ever seem to want to open.

  7. #7
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimiknoxtaylor View Post
    I've begun opening my seams also. We had a speaker @ guild not long ago who is a "professional" LAQ and she quilts 30-40 quilts per month. One of her requirements is that the seams have to be open, says too many broken needles when they're not.
    if seams are hand sewn they do need to be pressed to either side for strength. But machine sewn, it's more personal preference.
    This surprised me. I am also a LAQ and if you need to SID, the seams are better pressed to one side. If you press them open, then the SID is just sewing across thread & not fabric on the top. If you are doing an overall, it probably doesn't matter. I actually have never had a problem with needles breaking.

  8. #8
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    Hi Julie - I know exactly what you are talking about. You have to finger press the seam open first, then you can lay the iron right on top of it.

  9. #9
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    ​I usually press to one side unless there are a lot of seams meeting in one spot. I have clipped a thread doing SITD with my sewing machine needle. Not the end of the world but I did have to hand sew the two pieces back together with a ladder stitch. Do what works or you there are no quilt police here.

  10. #10
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I have begun to press seams open when doing pinwheel (or variation) what a difference. My next quilt project I will try to press all seams open and see how it goes. I will finger press open, I am tired of hot fingers (warm heart).
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  11. #11
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have been sewing seams open for over 4 decades of quilting. I never did jump on the "press to the dark" bandwagon. I still get "looks" and comments, from some quilters .. that I am not a "real" true quilter. Their first reaction is how did you get it to look so flat? .. then when I flip it over and they see the open seams .. its like a brought a plague into the room. I am glad to see more are seeing the benefits of pressing open. Maybe someday I won't get the "look"!

  12. #12
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    Thank you for this thread! I'm new to quilting, but not entirely new to sewing...just rusty LOL. I was familiar with pressing seams open from apparel/craft patterns, and wondered the 'why' of it all with quilting. This is good information (as is everything I read here because even with a show & tell type thread, there are tips & notations that make for great information gathering!)
    Thanks again!

  13. #13
    Senior Member hannajo's Avatar
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    I am under the impression that pressing to the side makes a sturdier quilt. Does anyone have experience pressing seams open for a child's quilt that gets dragged around and washed a lot? Just curious.
    ~hannajo~
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  14. #14
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I have done it both ways and there is certainly alot less bulk if pressed open.

  15. #15
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Confession: I've tried several times to press my seams open, and it always ends in burnt fingers and frustration. What am I doing wrong? I've watched people do it online before but my seams just don't ever seem to want to open.
    Whenever I want to press my seams open I actually use a sleeve ham I have had for years. You can get one cheap at JoAnns. I just lay the seam side up and the fabric pulls the material down so the pressing is really easy and I don't have any problems.

    When you have hand problems you either learn ways around what you want to do or get really frustrated ... and, gasp, maybe give up.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
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  16. #16
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Pressing to one side and accurately locking the seams does not create any more thickness than open seams so should be no difference in quilting.iprefer to one side for strength but sometimes get it wrong.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  17. #17
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Which way to press seams is, to my way of thinking, an entirely personal decision and ranks up there with the other personal quilting decisions of pre-wash or not, stash or not, scrappy or not, pre-cuts or not, hand stitch or not, and so on. Do whatever works for you with my blessing, but I'm sticking with what works for me...and pressing seams open isn't it.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  18. #18
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliKat View Post
    Whenever I want to press my seams open I actually use a sleeve ham I have had for years. You can get one cheap at JoAnns. I just lay the seam side up and the fabric pulls the material down so the pressing is really easy and I don't have any problems.

    When you have hand problems you either learn ways around what you want to do or get really frustrated ... and, gasp, maybe give up.
    Oh! I will definitely try this, thanks! I always try to finger press them apart before I press, but it doesn't always make things better.

  19. #19
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    I do press mine open when I have a lot of pieces coming together. For me (and yes it may only be me) I have an easier time matching when I press to one side. I have never had issue of breaking a needle when quilting with seams pressed to the side.

    I also lower my stitch length to at least 2, most of the new machines come up at 2.5 (not sure how many stitches to the inch that is). I think the other thing is that SID was not meant to be in the seam line but a little to the left or to the right of it. Most older quilts I have noticed have the quilting stitches either just to one side of the seam or a 1/4 to the side of the seam.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliKat View Post
    Whenever I want to press my seams open I actually use a sleeve ham I have had for years. You can get one cheap at JoAnns. I just lay the seam side up and the fabric pulls the material down so the pressing is really easy and I don't have any problems.

    When you have hand problems you either learn ways around what you want to do or get really frustrated ... and, gasp, maybe give up.
    I forgot to mention that I saw a tool at a QS and went home and made it, works great. Took half-round (flat on one side and rounded on the other) similar to quarter round so it is small. Made it the length I wanted (18 in) and then created a sleeve (fabric - batting- fabric) seamed down the side and across the bottom and slid the wood piece into it.

  21. #21
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    I also press open. That's from clothes sewing days!

    To prevent burnt fingers I use a wooden iron which is half of a wooden clip clothespin. Open it up and run it down the seam. Voila! Pressed open. I do use iron for long seams.

    As to whether a quilt will last: Clothes that I made for children 20-30 years ago are still hanging around with no popped seams. And those kind of seams undergo a lot of stress. A quilt that has extra protection (the quilting part!) would certainly last at least as long!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Confession: I've tried several times to press my seams open, and it always ends in burnt fingers and frustration. What am I doing wrong? I've watched people do it online before but my seams just don't ever seem to want to open.
    Either finger press first or get a pressing tool to help hold the seams open while pressing. I first press all my seams as sewn. Then finger press open the seam. Then flip the sewn pieces over and press again on the right side of the pieces.

  23. #23
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    I love this idea!!! I have some clothespins and that is what I am going to do...Thank-you!
    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    I also press open. That's from clothes sewing days!

    To prevent burnt fingers I use a wooden iron which is half of a wooden clip clothespin. Open it up and run it down the seam. Voila! Pressed open. I do use iron for long seams.

    As to whether a quilt will last: Clothes that I made for children 20-30 years ago are still hanging around with no popped seams. And those kind of seams undergo a lot of stress. A quilt that has extra protection (the quilting part!) would certainly last at least as long!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lfletcher View Post
    This surprised me. I am also a LAQ and if you need to SID, the seams are better pressed to one side. If you press them open, then the SID is just sewing across thread & not fabric on the top. If you are doing an overall, it probably doesn't matter. I actually have never had a problem with needles breaking.
    I'm a LAQ also and if you press seams open there is no ditch so you can't do SID at all.

    As a piecer, I would think pressing seams to the side would make a stronger seam. While machine stitching is stronger than hand stitching, you would still have strain on the seams(especially with a bed quilt) where thread breakage could happen over time IMHO.

    If you press your seams open wouldn't it be easier if you made wider seams? Of course, you would lose inches overall in your project.
    Last edited by selm; 01-17-2013 at 08:35 AM.
    Sally

  25. #25
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    Some thing I press open, other to one side, each project is different. The pressing rule we have follwed for so many years is more flexible that we thought.
    Quilt outside of the box!

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